App Settings Design Architecture

Ratomir Jovanovic
Chief Executive Officer at inordo

Designers strive to make apps easy and intuitive. Prominent features receive the most attention while often it is less visible design details that improve usability by making an app organised, intuitive, with relevant feedback for users.

There are plenty of settings that people don’t think about until they’re not there. Like other unsung UI patterns, app settings make apps easier to use but only seem to garner interest when something goes wrong.

Users may take the time every once in a while to look through their phone’s setting options and maybe change one or two things here and there — like turning off notifications for an old game, you downloaded months ago, because your friend suddenly sent you a request to help him to milk a cow on his virtual farm!

Well-designed app settings allow users good control over how different parts of an application work so we can tailor them exactly as we want them: turn off push notification reminders from games I haven’t played in a months…

There are many settings hidden in each app. It seems that designers and users alike ignore these panels, which is a shame because managing the push notifications or time zones could help you be more productive at work.


Designers know that they are one of the key factors in making an app successful and should pay attention more to small features under the “settings umbrella”.

With well-designed and easy interface, you can reduce customer support costs and increase engagement because users will be able customise their apps on demand!

The goal is to make it as simple for customers as possible so they don’t get stuck at a roadblock or become frustrated by complications with your application’s design — but this isn’t always an easy feat when designing these types of options which align with what each individual needs from them.


Cards sort exercises are a great way to understand how users would group settings, and then establish hierarchy among categories that emerge from this process. Designing user flows for each setting will give you an idea of which labels best aligns with their expectations when designing your app’s Settings page!


Default settings are important to make the user’s experience as easy and efficient as possible from their first interaction. For example, password security apps like 1Password or LastPass have default settings that optimises for protecting users’ confidential information.


Start collaboration right away, and talk with stakeholders about their settings-related needs. Meet product managers, security experts, designers engineers or anyone else interested in settings — waiting until late during design process could lead expensive redesigns.


Designers should talk with customer support teams who can give insight into what confuses and frustrates users the most when they interact with your app’s settings panel, as well as provide feedback on how you could improve them in future iterations of that design element.


Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank screen, unable to find the right word because it looks too “off” compared to other words on your document?

Usability testing involves creating prototypes of interfaces that have basic functionality and then test how well people use them. Also, designers do this with high-fidelity prototypes where they can see what buttons look like next to each other and compare their effectiveness from time spent in usability sessions.

The sooner we start designing our prototype for potential flaws, the more confident we will be when building something new or fixing an existing feature.


Designers strive to make apps easy and intuitive. Prominent features receive the most attention while often it is less visible design details that improve usability by making an app organized, intuitive, with relevant feedback for users. Well-known UI components align with a user’s mental model of how things work in order to provide ease of use through familiarity even if they are hidden from sight on larger screens or aren’t always close at hand (think: notifications).

Settings should be designed so that all information can be accessed quickly without scrolling — gestures such as swipe navigation help move between sections more efficiently than traditional linear lists which require constant backtracking when doing anything other than going up one level per screenful in hierarchy.

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Ratomir Jovanovic
Chief Executive Officer
Fifteen years of expertise designing digital products. I've worked with both Fortune 500 organizations and great startups.

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